PLEASE SIGN OUR GUEST BOOK
The STNRT has experienced a surge in the number of visitors with plans to thru hike and section hike the trail. To help us justify grants and show the land managers the continued rise in visits, we are asking all hikers, day hikers to thru hikers, mountain bikers, horse trail rides, ATV users, to sign the guest book letting us know your plans. We will not share that information with anyone. By signing in, you will help us continue to protect, preserve and promote the Trace for generations to come. Registration takes only a minute. Click the link below to go to the form. Thanks again for your help. We appreciate your support.
You Got Questions?
1. How long is the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail? As is the case with most long trails, the distance of the Sheltowee can change each year. In January of each year, after a discussion with our map makers and the land managers, we set the mileage based on trail reroutes and adjustments from the previous year. As of January 1st 2017, the total miles is 323.
2. Which direction should I thru-hike and how long should it take? Most start in the North and head south. This enables you to take advantage of the trail towns that are closer together in the North and to limit the amount of food you have to carry in the early days of your hike. How long should it take for me to finish the Trace? How long is relative to your individual abilities. The average is 25 days but the Trace can be done in 21. We encourage you to not make a race of it and take a month to complete your end to end.
3. Where can I resupply with food? Click here to download our suggestions for resupply.
4. Where can I camp? The Daniel Boone is an open forest. You can camp off the Trace 300 feet from the trail. There are existing sites along the Trace that we recommend you go ahead and use to limit the environmental impact on the Trace. The Trace goes through or near several campgrounds (Natural Bridge, Turkeyfoot, S-Tree, Alumn Ford, Great Meadows), some free some a fee. Check the trail guide for details on locations. Please do not camp under rock houses, or cliff lines unless it is an emergency situation like a thunderstorm. Practice "LEAVE NO TRACE" please and pack out what you bring in. Build fires only when authorized and use fire rings.
5. Can we build a fire? Yes and No. Check with the landmanagers or the STA Facebook page and this webpage for any change to the fire status. During the high risk time for forest fires, there may be restrictions placed on fire building. Please follow the guidance.
6. What about the availability of water? First, treat all water. Filter your water for your sake. There are many streams and creeks along the length of the Trace. As you plan your trip, check with online weather sources for current and projected conditions. Visit the STA webpage and Facebook pages for updates on drought conditions and or flood conditions. You will get your feet wet so bring camp shoes that can double as water shoes or just go barefoot across the many streams.
7. What about other users? The Trace is a multiuse trail in several locations. In the Cave Run areas, you will be hiking on trails that are shared with mountain bike users and horse trail riding users. In the Turkeyfoot to S-Tree area the Trace is shared between hikers and ATV's / dirt bikes. In the Big South Fork you will be on the Trace where parts are shared with Mountain Bikes and on other sections where you backpack with horse trail riders.
8. What do the trail towns provide? We have 5 towns on or near the Trace that have been designated by the Tourism Office of the State of Kentucky as trail towns. Each town has a variety of current services for users and most are looking to develop additional services for users. Each town has someone who can shuttle you into town to a local hotel, restaurant, or to receive medical attention. Current Trace trail towns are: Morehead, McKee, Livingston, London, and Stearns.
9. What about cell service? The best service at this moment is with Verizon. Expect to be able to communicate and post to social media when near towns and up on the hillsides. The Trace runs along several cliff lines near rivers and streams where service is limited.
10. Has anyone biked the entire trail? No. The Trace is not open to biking or horseback riding over the entire designated trail corridor. You will need to leave the Trace and use local roads to route yourself around and back to the legal sections of the Trace.
Maps and Guidebook Information
The STA, working with our local suppliers sells the most current maps and guidebooks to assist you with your planning of a thru hike.
Maps and guidebooks can be purchased from our online store - THE STA TRADING POST. Click HERE to go to the store and place your order. Orders are shipped on Tuesday's and Thursday's of each week.
Expedited orders should be coordinated by phone with the STA Office directly. 606 386 3636.
Mail Drops - Food Resupply
Please do not send a food box -"bounce box" to Bandy Creek Visitor Center in Big South Fork. Boxes that are there or on the way before 29 May can be picked up. From May 29 forward please do not send the boxes. We are working to find another location to send your food box to in the area that will work for you. Thanks for your cooperation.
Food resupply is one of the most often asked questions? While we recommended and suggest these options, while we attempt to confirm the details (address, food box acceptance etc.), we are not responsible for lost or returned packages.
Click HERE to download a list of food resupply options.
How About Shuttles?
The STA can connect you with shuttle providers up and down the Trace. Some are commercial operators, others volunteers. Some charge a set fee, some take donations. Your first step in securing a shuttle is to complete the Request Form below. The STA office will then forward your request to one of our shuttle providers who will get in touch with you with 48 hours.
If you are looking at the weather and decide at the last minute to request a shuttle (24 hours of less) please bear in mind we might not be able to accommodate you and or it may cost you a little more for a provider from outside your hiking area to come in and assist you.
Getting to the Trace
Northern Terminus - The NT is 25 miles north of Morehead Kentucky on State Route 377. There is ample parking there for day hikes and multi day hikes. If you are thru hiking we recommend you get dropped off or if you need to leave your vehicle at the Northern Terminus you make arrangements with one of our STA members and trail angel to store your vehicle at their farm about 10 miles from the N.T. . They will help get you back to your vehicle when you complete your hike.
Southern Terminus - The current Southern Terminus is at Burnt Mill Bridge trail head in the Big South Fork NRRA. There is a sign on U.S. 27 and additional signs on the road into the trail head. The turn off is 5 miles south of Helenwood, Tennessee. (see photo)
By Air to Northern Terminus - Nearest airports are Lexington, and Huntington WV. Lexington currently is served by .
Huntington Tri-cities Airport has service by American but you will have to go thru Charlotte. Allegient Air has service but only to Florida locations and on a limited schedule. It is 80 miles from airport to Northern Terminus. Expect to pay $75 to $100 for shuttle. It is about 90 minutes from airport to Northern Terminus.
Arriving in Lexington at Bluegrass Field you are 80 miles from the Northern Terminus, about two hours by shuttle. Expect to pay $90 to $125.00 for shuttle to Northern Terminus. It is possible to get a shuttle from Lexington down to Southern Terminus, a distance of 160 miles. Expect to pay between $160.00 and $225.00 for the shuttle. It is a 4 hour drive in normal traffic to the southern terminus.
Airlines serving Lexington, KY are American, Delta and United. All are connecting services from major airport hubs.
Knoxville McGhee Tyson Airport is 75 miles from Southern Terminus of the STNRT. Shuttle service is available and you should expect to pay $125.00 or more. The airport is serviced by American, Delta and United.